Talking heads

Video is being used increasingly by recruiters and candidates who prefer to ‘talk’ directly to an employer.

With unemployment figures high and the battle for quality candidates keen, it pays to stand out from the crowd. A search on YouTube for ‘video resume’ produces more than 500,000 hits. But what has caused this shift and what does it mean for human resource professionals?

There are a range of reasons – one of which is the younger generation’s relationship with technology, says Josh Tolan, CEO of Spark Hire, a video-interviewing platform used by more than 50 organisations worldwide. “Young people are more comfortable being in the public eye, showing who they are. It’s the extrovert and exhibitionist coming out.”

According to Davin D’Silva, recruitment manager, advice and services at Suncorp, technology is changing the recruitment landscape. “Today, technology is facilitating alternative mediums for candidates to provide information about themselves to employers.” Examples include videos, Prezi presentations, resumes built to look like eBay auctions or even a video game.

Integrating video into the recruitment process is making it more efficient and effective, according to Tolan. “It helps employers gain more insight on important personality and non-verbal cues earlier in the process,” he says.

Not surprisingly, those spruiking the technology agree. Benjy Gilman, co-founder at MyInterview, an online video recruitment platform, says: “People have become more tech savvy and therefore have the opportunity to see different mediums to apply for jobs. But employers are also becoming more time poor and are looking for efficiencies wherever possible. Video makes their job a lot easier as it gives them a better picture of whether or not a candidate is the right person for them.”

The video interview

Non-traditional resumes are not the only things changing in the HR industry. Hiring processes are moving more towards digital as well. Commonwealth Bank employs video among a number of techniques to ensure they get to know the person behind the CV. “CVs can only tell part of the picture for the individual, so we spend a great deal of time getting to know a candidate’s personality, skills, and career aspirations in other ways [through video interviewing, assessment centres, psychometric tests and face to face interviewing] to ensure we objectively find the best talent for the role and the organisation.” says James Elliott, general manager, talent strategy and acquisition.

Suncorp has been using video interview technology fora ┬ácouple of years now and believes it’s a worthwhile tool to recruit people, especially graduates. “telephone interview scheduling was quite restrictive and time consuming,” says D’Silva. “We get that extra dimension of information that we weren’t getting from a telephone interview. For example, seeing the way they present themselves and identifying their enthusiasm and motivation through their body language.”

For Commonwealth Bank, video interviewing is all about ensuring convenience for the candidate and efficiency for the recruitment team. “The he video interview provides our managers with an enhanced feel for the candidates’ experience, personality and potential,” Elliott says. “It also saves candidates from having to repeat answers to questions when they meet other people later through the recruitment process, as line managers will already have seen their answers to these initial questions.”

Gilmann believes video interviewing is only going to become more accepted as time goes by, so it’s important to jump on board. “Video interviewing will become a standard part of the recruitment process for employers of all sizes due to its affordability, ease of use and effectiveness in sorting applicants.”

The hiring process

Most video recruitment platforms offer different ways to conduct the candidate search. Generally, a video resume is submitted, giving applicants the opportunity to pitch themselves and their skills. There are then two options. The first is a one-way interview where candidates respond to a series of questions presented by the computer. Candidates can complete this in their own time. Alternatively, interviews are conducted live and the recruiter connects directly with the candidate.

As with traditional resumes, there is the potential to use screening software to scan for keywords. D’Silva says the rise of non-traditional resumes and video interviewing is changing the way systems will need to work in the HR industry. “we will have to find efficient ways to capture skills and capability so it searchable in the future,” he says. “However, the greater challenge will be moving away from selecting candidates on previous work experience and assessing candidates on capability and motivation.”

Risk of bias

Bias can occur in any recruitment situation. Is the potential for unconscious or conscious bias that much greater when video is part of the process? Kyle Scott, senior associate at Australian Business Lawyers and Advisors, thinks not.

“I can’t see it increases any legal risks. Most employers will meet the candidate before offering them a job, so getting a video resume doesn’t give you any more information. What it does is bring forward the opportunity to discriminate if someone was so inclined to do so, but it doesn’t give more opportunity to discriminate.”

Where there could be problems is if an employer says they will only accept video resumes, says Scott. “That opens up potential discrimination against people who might not have access to technology, who live in a remote or regional area, or who aren’t tech savvy. That’s alright if it’s a tech job they’re going form buy not if it’s for a cleaner,” Scott says.

“A good recruiter uses the information in front of them and doesn’t get swept up in superficial extras,” D’Silva says. “if you have agreement on the competencies you are looking for in an ideal candidate and assess each person against these, then there shouldn’t be any bias.”

Elliott believes going digital actually helps avoid unconscious bias. “Studies have shown that digital interviewing increases objectivity as [it can be seen that] all candidates are asked the same questions and recruiters are held to account, as the interviews can be reviewed to see if bias has occurred,” he explains.

The way of the future

When it comes to the future of recruitment, most experts agree that technology and peer-to-peer networking will play a major role. According to Gilman, the use of social media in the hiring process is only going to intensify. “Business is becoming more social and recruitment will follow this trend.”

D’Silva agrees. “It’s probably only a matter of time until there’s a technology solution to curate content from out social presence and peer reviews, and turn it into ranking or a compatibility index with employer values and resourcing requirements.”

Ref: HRMonthly November 2015

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The ARS team have extensive experience providing recruitment and HR consulting services to Australian businesses and jobseekers.